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Super U's to get the Silkmen in a spin at Moss Rose
at 08:55 16 Feb 2019

JM takes his resurgent U’s to Moss Rose Macclesfield today for another important League Two game. Back to back victories have breathed more life into the U’s promotion challenge and they can tackle the Silkmen with renewed confidence . Much has happened since we played Macclesfield at Fortress JobServe in early December. Of our 12 games since then we have won 5 drawn 2 and lost 5. Macclesfield have won 4 drawn 3 and lost 4 of their 11 matches, giving an indication of what Sol Campbell and Danny Whitaker and latterly Andrew Cole have brought to the Cheshire strugglers.

There can be no complacency today, Macclesfield are expecting a big crowd and they will be looking to attempt to draw away from the dreaded bottom two .

Moss Rose is a compact ground with a capacity of 6,335. The faithful today will be in the Big Brands Idea stand or the John Askey Terrace. When we played them at home in December, I recalled the famous 4-4 draw in April 1992 at Moss Rose when both teams were in the Conference. JM will be seeking three points today and I expect, notwithstanding a gallant effort from the Silkmen located 53 degrees north, Colchester to prevail. Recent Colchester away performances have lanced the northern travel boil, albeit slightly.

JM has some squad issues which he will have to tackle carefully, most notably is the loss of Harry Pell, injured last week. Ben Stevenson also requires a fitness test, but I expect him to play, with Tom Lapslie in the middle of the park. I have now conceded that JM will not start all three new arrivals, preferring to introduce Callum Roberts from the bench.

Given that the Goalkeeper and Back Four pick themselves and the midfield is virtually sorted JM must decide on his attacking options. Brennan Dickenson is beginning to show (from the bench) something of the form that he produced prior to his lengthy injury lay off. Courtney Senior is surely to retain his place and there is no way that JM can leave Abo Eisa out (no more appalling puns, they have had their day Ed).

That leaves Luke Norris, fit again after his recent injury concerns and Mika Mandron, also vying for a start. I reckon both will warm the bench because big Frank Nouble continues to relish his central striking role and is looking for successive goals in successive games.

Therefore:

Gilmartin

Jackson Prosser Kent Vincent-Young

Lapslie Stevenson Eisa

Senior Nouble Szmodics

Subs:

Barnes Comley Wright Dickenson Mandron Norris Roberts

Top of the Table 1st to 8th:

Lincoln 31 61 +24
Mansfield 32 58 +23
Bury 32 57 +23
MK Dons 32 53 +18
COL U 32 52 +17
Carlisle 32 52 +12
FGR 32 51 +15
Exeter 31 51 +12

Experience has shown that even at this stage of the season it is unwise to rule anyone out of the running and momentum from a mid-table side could see them yet challenge for a top seven place. Two possible contenders are Swindon and Grimsby, but it still looks like any 7 from the top 8 at present.

There are three other tasty games today (apart from Colchester of course) Notts Co v Mansfield, Carlisle v MK Dons and Exeter v Bury. Draws are probably favourite, but it is stressed that our fortunes are very much in our own hands. It is of course possible that the final game against the Imps could decide the automatic promotion places, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves at this stage. I went to Sincil Bank last season where we lost 1-0 in a cagey affair and perhaps on reflection were unlucky to lose.

The remaining 14 fixtures:

Macclesfield A
Carlisle H
Swindon A
Newport H

FGR H
Exeter A
Tranmere H
Cambridge A

Oldham H
Bury A
Grimsby H
Yeovil A

MK Dons H
Lincoln A

The Macclesfield weather today is set fair with a mild 11 degrees Celsius and some cloud. The pitch should be decent. Its all about the three points today and I wish the travelling faithful safe journeys and hopefully they will be applauding the team at 4.50pm following another Away victory.

Enjoy the game.

Up the U’s


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Robins to have wings clipped by the Super U's at Fortress Job Serve
at 21:06 8 Feb 2019

Following their impressive 4-0 victory at Sixfields last weekend, JM will be encouraging his charges to go even better against the Robins, who after the postponement of their game last weekend against Cambridge saw Yeovil off on Tuesday evening with a narrow 1-0 victory. The Cobblers intriguingly also secured victory at Tranmere on Tuesday to upset the home form of the Birkenhead team by 2-1.

Cheltenham manager Michael Duff will be looking to improve his team’s league position with an unlikely win at Fortress Job Serve. JM by contrast is looking for back to back victories to improve the Super U’s league position and to break back into the top seven.

Now last week at Northampton I argued for JM to play all three new signings from the outset. In the event only Ben Stevenson started but both Abo Eisa and Callum Roberts made impressions from the bench.

This week for the home match, JM must look to start all three in an adventurous team. It is not just about the three points but enhancing the goal difference which could prove pivotal in the final analysis this season.

Lincoln 30 60 +24
Mansfield 31 58 +24
Bury 31 54 +22
FGR 30 51 +18
Carlisle 30 51 +13
MK Dons 30 50 +18
Exeter 30 50 +12
COL U 31 49 +14

As I suggested last week, it increasingly looks like any 7 from 8 for the Promotion and Play Off spots.

Our next four games are Cheltenham H, Macclesfield A, Carlisle H and Swindon A. All are certainly winnable. Consistency now is the key to closing the gap on the top three.

JM must decide what to do about his team selection for tomorrow’s key game. Mika Mandron has been training following his tight hamstring last weekend, whilst Courtney Senior has a sore ankle and should not be risked. The good news is that Luke Norris has also been back in training and could be on the bench on Saturday.

Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe has left on loan to Derry City until the end of June.

Rene Gilmartin looks to have the confidence from the manager over Dillon Barnes and the back four looks to be Jackson Kent Prosser and Vincent-Young.

Ben Stevenson and Harry Pell will be the midfield pairing with Abo Eisa (a quality investment as Jeff Stelling opines!) leaving Szmodics, Nouble and Callum Roberts up front.

I do hope that JM is brave and plays all three new signings from the start. It is all about playing the best XI if we are to make up ground on the other teams.

Gilmartin

Jackson Kent Prosser Vincent-Young

Pell Stevenson Eisa

Szmodics Nouble Roberts

Subs:

Barnes Wright Comley Eastman Dickenson Norris Mandron

Colchester weather is set to be a mild 10 degrees with partial cloud and sunny intervals. Certainly, milder than the cooler conditions in Durham which has seen almost monsoon conditions at times today.

Hopefully the faithful will be present in good number for what should be an entertaining game.

Enjoy the game and Up the U’s


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Cobblers to be leathered by Super U's today
at 10:27 2 Feb 2019

JM takes his beleaguered charges to the PTS Academy Stadium aka Sixfields to play Northampton Town in what is very much a must win game.

The last 9 games have seen the U’s win 2, draw 2 and more disturbingly lose 5. The wheels started to come off after that disastrous 4-0 defeat to a much-improved Carlisle United side. I had the misfortune to be at Brunton Park for that humiliation, and it proved to be our worst performance of the season.

Back to back defeats (Mansfield and Crewe) in games that frankly we were winning and should have secured some points from, have dropped us down to 8th position in the table.

Lincoln 29 59
Mansfield 30 55
Bury 30 53
FGR 30 51
Carlisle 30 51
MK Dons 29 50
Exeter 29 47
COL U 30 46

In fact, with 16 games to play those eight teams are likely to occupy the top eight places, although we hope that Colchester can yet return to early season form and achieve a top three finish.

Remaining games:

Northampton A
Cheltenham H
Macclesfield A
Carlisle H

Swindon A
Newport H
FGR H
Exeter A

Tranmere H
Cambridge A
Oldham H
Bury A

Grimsby H
Yeovil A
MK Dons H
Lincoln A

Dividing the fixtures into bite sized chunks allows them to be more easily digested, but the simple truth is that we are going to have to secure at least another 11 victories to guarantee a top 7 finish, anything else is a bonus.

So much for the glass half empty news, the better news is that we have made three impressive signings this week; two loans with Callum Roberts from Newcastle and Abo Eisa from Shrewsbury whilst arguably the capture of the past 5 seasons is Ben Stevenson signed from Wolves on a 2.5-year deal. I am still reeling from that monumental news. Stevenson was outstanding last season and he will combine with Harry Pell to form an effective midfield pairing. He has goals in him too and TH should be applauded for securing this outstanding talent from Wolves. I am sure that Coventry will be seething about this but don’t lose any sleep worrying about them!

We didn’t lose any of our more promising talent either, so all in all a good week off the field.

Keith Curle is currently in charge of the Cobblers and has made two decent signings of his own this week; Charlie Goode and Marvin Sordell both on loan. He will also hope to have (former U’s favourite) John-Joe O’Toole and Dean Bowditch back in contention for today’s game.

Today is all about three points for the Super U’s. Also, how many of the new signings will start for JM. All three, I hope.

Now Rene Gilmartin is fast developing a vampire mentality, he is afraid of crosses as demonstrated over the past two games. Let’s get Dillon Barnes back between the sticks today. JM has a decision as to whether to go with Frankie Kent and Luke Prosser at the back or stick with Tom Eastman. I reckon the midfield will surely be Pell, Stevenson and Lapslie allowing Eisa, Roberts and Szmodics to play up front.

I know that Mandron and Nouble have been playing in advanced roles, but their goal return has been sparse at best. Until a fully fit Norris is restored to the team, lets see what top scorer Szmodics and new starlet Roberts can do with Eisa offering the pace on the flanks.

Senior and Dickenson have both flattered to deceive and fledgling talent Junior is still not fully trusted by JM.

So, let’s go for a youthful, adventurous and talented team:

Barnes

Jackson Kent Prosser Vincent-Young

Pell Stevenson Lapslie

Eisa Roberts Szmodics

Subs:

Gilmartin Eastman Comley Mandron Ogedi-Uzokwe Senior Dickenson

Today’s weather is to be partly sunny and three degrees Celsius in Northampton. The faithful will be travelling in good numbers and hopefully will be toasting another away victory at 4.50pm.

Up the U’s

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Super U's to outfox Cumbrians at Brunton Park this weekend
at 17:42 14 Dec 2018

JMc takes his automatic promotion candidates north to Carlisle tomorrow (Saturday) for a tough but intriguing encounter with the Cumbrians, managed by John Sheridan.

I have been to Brunton Park almost too many times to remember. Although it is a 630-mile round trip for the U’s faithful, at 55 miles each way it is one of my shortest journeys.

The weather is a potential problem this weekend. Carlisle’s weather forecast is cloudy on Friday evening with a low of 1 degree Celsius, but on Saturday morning from 8.30am Light Snow is forecast and then from 1pm SNOW and 2 degrees Celsius turning to rain at kick off and then rain showers from 6pm. A milder 8 degrees in the evening as a thaw sets in. A potential four seasons in one day for Saturday 15th December.

Now for travellers the all-important location is Stainmore on the A66 over the Pennines. SNOW is forecast from 12noon onwards, again turning to rain. Now we all know about the snow gates between Bowes and Brough and if there is any doubt the Highways Agency will close the gates meaning that an uncomfortable journey north to Newcastle and across the A69 to Carlisle could lie in wait for the Away supporters.

The other option for the faithful would be to use the M62 and then the M61 and M6 north, neither alternative journey is particularly appealing, but at least there are no snow gates on the M62.

I will be watching the conditions very carefully in the morning. Travel safe and arrive safely is the order of the day.

Providing the match goes ahead and the problem is when any decision might be made by the referee regarding postponement, but hopefully it won’t come to that then JMc has to decide whether to make any changes to his starting line-up.

He now has three fit strikers in Mandron, Nouble and Norris. Luke Norris came off the bench for 15 minutes last week and of course Mika Mandron scored the winner against the Silkmen. Big Frank Nouble has been a consistent performer all season, so does JMc play an unchanged team on the large playing surface at Brunton Park. The other decision involves Tom Eastman who thankfully is fit again.

With a difficult set of fixtures to come over the Christmas and New Year period including MK Dons next weekend, I reckon JMc will keep Norris on the bench and bring him on for the last 30 minutes or so. Sammie Szmodics of course has hit good goalscoring form at the right time and we are waiting to see whether his excellent technical strike against the Grecians will be enough to secure goal of the month in League Two (decision next Friday).

So unchanged against the Cumbrians tomorrow:

Barnes

Jackson Kent Prosser Vincent-Young

Senior Lapslie Pell Szmodics

Mandron Nouble

Subs:

Gilmartin Eastman Comley Gondoh Dickenson Collins Norris

JMc must decide though whether to play Aaron Collins at some stage, who must be the unluckiest striker on the books (on loan from Wolves) he has ability and must be incredibly frustrated to warm the bench each week.

Table:

MK Dons 21 43
Lincoln 20 41
COL U 21 38
Bury 21 36
Mansfield 20 35
Newport 21 35
Tranmere 21 34
FGR 21 33
Exeter 21 31
Stevenage 21 31

13th place Carlisle 21 27

Tomorrow is all about another three points at a difficult ground where the weather will make the conditions challenging. Whether it is snow or rain the playing surface is normally a good one, but it will be difficult to get the ball down and play. Physical conditions and a hostile partisan crowd within the Paddock on the Grandstand side of the ground all contribute to the atmosphere.

The other stand out League Two fixture is at Rodney Parade where Newport play hosts to the MK Dons. The Exiles can do everyone a favour with a narrow home victory.

Anyway, safe journey to all travelling U’s fans and enjoy the game. I will be delighted with a 2-0 victory for the Super U’s.

Up the U’s

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Silkmen to unravel at the JobServe this weekend
at 21:11 7 Dec 2018

JM and his charges entertain the Silkmen managed by Sol Campbell with First Team Coach Mark Kennedy at Fortress JobServe this weekend.

Sol Campbell is following in the footsteps of the “Guvnor” Paul Ince who took over at Moss Rose in similar circumstances with Macclesfield at the bottom of the league in 2006. He led them to safety before moving to the MK Dons.

Make no mistake, tomorrow is not about Campbell or his charges, but all about another three points for the Super U’s ahead of the busy Christmas/New Year period. Macclesfield have won their last two league games and lost narrowly on penalties to Newcastle U21s in the much maligned Checkatrade Trophy in midweek.

By contrast Colchester have not played since the away victory at Forest Green Rovers and will be raring to go tomorrow afternoon.

Incidentally we have played the Silkmen 5 times, including a 4-4 draw at Moss Rose in April 1992 when both teams were in the GM Vauxhall Conference and Macclesfield were managed by Sammy MclIroy. I was there with the other 900 spectators or so that afternoon.

But tomorrow three points are essential for the Super U’s. This week there has been muted press interest in the story that Colchester are interested (with Blackpool and Bradford) in Yeovil Town’s winger Wes McDonald. Given we have Senior and Dickenson, it seems strange that we would be looking for another winger unless JM feels that we could lose one of them in the transfer window. Although interest has once again been resurrected in Sammie Szmodics (perhaps inevitable after a couple of recent goals and impressive performances). Nominated for League Two player of the Month, he was not awarded the accolade, but it will be enough to get him on the radar again.

Frankly though we don’t need such distractions, when we are badly missing Luke Norris and Tom Eastman and Ryan Jackson and Kane Vincent-Young are both doubtful.

If both defenders are fit to play, then JM is likely to field an unchanged team against the Silkmen

Barnes

Jackson Prosser Kent Vincent-Young

Senior Lapslie Pell

Szmodics Mandron Nouble

Subs:

Ross James Wright Comley Gondoh Dickenson Collins

Of the substitutes Aaron Collins (on loan from Wolves) must be the unluckiest player at the club. He played at Notts County (and played well) but was unlucky to slip over when well placed and since then has only been a bit player. JM must deploy him tomorrow for at least 30 second half minutes.

The weather tomorrow in Colchester is likely to be 10 degrees Celsius and mainly cloudy, the pitch will be pristine and although Christmas shopping will be a lure for many of the faithful, the Sol Campbell dimension will be enough to boost numbers, albeit slightly.

League Table:

MK Dons 20 40
Lincoln 19 38
COL U 20 35
Newport 20 35
Bury 20 33
Mansfield 19 32
Exeter 20 31
Tranmere 20 31
Stevenage 20 31
FGR 20 30

The placings remain tight and psychologically we need to go into the intense Christmas period with another three home points. I predict a 3-0 home victory.

Carlisle Away
MK Dons Away
Stevenage Home
Morecambe Home
Crawley Away

Enjoy the game

Up the U’s

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Drey Wright
at 17:22 28 Nov 2018

Sorry to see that Drey Wright has suffered an ACL injury playing for St Johnstone and will be out for the rest of the season.

Get fit soon.
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And number 13 will play......................
at 18:04 19 Oct 2018

The draw for the 1st Round proper of the F A Cup will be made on Monday.

The Super U's are number 13 and will join the 32 non-league sides, plus those from leagues one and two in the draw.

Matches to be played the weekend of 9th November.

Prize money for the 1st round winners is now £36K

A decent Cup run would be viable both financially and for raising the U's profile

Up the U's
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Shrimps to be netted by the Super U's at the Globe Arena
at 16:25 19 Oct 2018

JMc takes his charges on the road for games at Morecambe and Grimsby on Saturday afternoon and Tuesday night respectively.

Buoyed by an impressive and deserved victory against a decent Crawley team, the Super U’s will fancy their chances of back to back away victories, before the season defining game against leaders Lincoln the following Saturday.

However, neither Morecambe nor Grimsby will be pushovers. I have been to the last two Aways games at Morecambe and Grimsby. The games at the Globe Arena finished in draws 1-1 and 0-0 whilst the games at Blundell Park saw a narrow defeat 1-0 and a 2-2 draw. In fact, we must go back to 1979 for the last away win at Grimsby. So, caution required.

Records of course are there to be broken and this season our Away from has been strong, so much so that I am expecting back to back wins. That will then give us the confidence to secure a home win against the Imps.

Anyway, back to Saturday and Jim Bentley’s side who sit 17th in the table with 13 points from 13 games. A useful 2-0 victory at Carlisle has also given them confidence and they will be keen to dent our promotion hopes. I think that we will be too strong for the Shrimps, but there can be no complacency on Saturday.

Table:

Lincoln 13 31
Exeter 13 27
Newport 13 27
MK Dons 13 24
Tranmere 13 23
COL U 13 22
Stevenage 13 21
FGR 13 20

One thing is certain, if we are to close the gap at the top then victory is a necessity at the Globe.

But who does JMc select. There has been much talk about Dillon Barnes being “rested” last week and I reckon that Rene Gilmartin may well play on Saturday, but then who plays under the lights on Tuesday and in the six pointer against Lincoln.

Harry Pell suffered a calf injury last week, but will he be fit to play alongside Tom Lapslie or will Brandon Comley play after his game for Montserrat which they won 1-0 against Belize.

I reckon if they are all fit JMc will opt for an unchanged team at the Globe with:

Gilmartin

Jackson Eastman Prosser Vincent-Young

Lapslie Pell Senior

Szmodics Norris Nouble

Subs:

Barnes Kent Kensdale Wright Dickenson Collins Mandron

The weather at Morecambe is set to be a mix of sunshine with occasional cloud and 15c. For those seeking a paddle in the sea, the low tide on Saturday will be at 4:09pm, so plenty of beach walking required.

If Fish "n" Chips is your desired meal, then I can recommend Atkinson’s in Albert Road, a stone throw from the sea front and close to the ground. Stumbled upon it last season and they did not disappoint.

Battered only by Papa’s on Cleethorpes Pier, to enjoy Tuesday evening!!!!

I have persuaded my youngest son to join me on Saturday and we will be setting off early to avoid the delays caused by the A66 Roadworks.

Safe journey to the travelling faithful.

Enjoy the game. Let’s pot those Shrimps!

Up the U’s

[Post edited 20 Oct 2018 9:25]
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Red Devils to be vanquished by the Super U's on saturday
at 14:02 12 Oct 2018

Following an excellent victory over local fiends Southend United in the Checkatrade on Tuesday evening, JMc and his charges entertain the Red Devils of Crawley Town on Saturday at the JobServe in what is now a must win game.

Must win because two recent sloppy defeats to Bury and Stevenage have plunged the U’s to eighth place in the table. The Stevenage game was particularly hard to take because the game hinged on an appalling decision by the referee to award a penalty to the home side when the game was evenly poised, worse still the offence was clearly committed outside of the penalty area.

Anyway, we move swiftly on and it is up to the U’s to repair the damage by securing a victory against 9th placed Crawley, managed by Gabriele Cioffi.

Table:

Lincoln 12 28
Exeter 12 24
Newport 12 24
MK Dons 12 21
Stevenage 12 21
FGR 12 20
Tranmere 12 20
COL U 12 19
Crawley 12 19
Carlisle 12 19
Bury 12 18

With just over a quarter of the season now played we are 5 points behind where we should be, accepting that 2 points per game is the average required to secure promotion (in an automatic spot), we can afford precious few defeats and must prevail in our home games to make the Stadium a fortress.

It is of course not all doom and gloom; the U’s have shown a freedom of expression in the attacking third and in Luke Norris have a superlative striker capable of scoring 20+ goals this season. Harry Pell has also shown that he was an impressive signing and can weigh in with valuable goals. Aaron Collins is the player most badly affected by the success of the team in that his chances after an impressive debut at Meadow Lane have been sorely limited. His goal against our Essex neighbours was typical of what he is capable of. Mikael Mandron remains an enigma, he has ability, works hard for the team, but fails to convert chances into goals.

So, what does JMc do this week with team selection:

I reckon he should go with 4,3,3:

Barnes

Jackson Prosser Kent Vincent-Young

Lapslie Pell Dickenson

Szmodics Collins Norris

Subs:

Gilmartin Barnes (A) Kensdale Gondoh Senior Mandron Eastman

Brandon Comley is once again on International duty with his brother James playing for Mon tserrat against Belize in the CONCACAF group. Whilst closer to home Luke Norris will be playing against his brother in law Lewis Young whilst leading out mascot Reggie (his nephew) who will be sporting the U’s kit with “Uncle” on the back. I am sure that once 3pm comes around there will be no family sentiments for 90 minutes.

Norris himself was nominated for another award this month, with the Bristol Street Motors Player of the Month Award, but sadly missed out to Lincoln’s Pett. He will not mind if he scores another couple of goals this weekend.

The league is proving to be a close affair and there are some intriguing fixtures this Saturday; Newport v Stevenage, Port Vale v Lincoln, Exeter v Swindon and Notts County v Oldham. Remember that the Magpies are now showing the form that they are capable of. Another reason why we need the three points on Saturday.

Weather for Colchester is set to be a warm 23C but cloudy. The good news for U’s fans is that it will be dry after the deluge at Stevenage last week.

Enjoy the game.

Up the U’s


[Post edited 12 Oct 2018 16:02]
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